Spousal support and maintenance

When you are going through the challenging process of a divorce or separation you want to feel secure in your financial future. We can help to ensure that you receive the financial support to which you are entitled.

In certain situations, spouses may be liable to maintain the other person financially following a separation or divorce. Spousal support differs from child support. Changes to the law in recent years have meant that de facto couples (including same sex couples) can also apply for spousal maintenance.

When deciding whether to make spousal maintenance orders, the court will consider the needs of one spouse against the ability of the other spouse to pay. Spousal support may be payable for a short period of time, or it may be ongoing.

The key factors that the court will take into account when deciding whether your former spouse should financially support you include:

  • Your age or health

  • Your income, property and financial resources

  • Whether you have the care and control of any children of the relationship who are not yet 18 years of age

  • Your capacity to earn money, and whether this has been affected by the marriage

  • What is considered to be a reasonable standard of living

You should seek legal advice if your relationship has broken down and either you or your former partner are unable to support yourself adequately. Stacks will look at the details of your particular situation and determine whether you are eligible to receive financial support from your former spouse. In all matters we will try to facilitate agreement between both parties in order to avoid the need for a court hearing.

Need advice about spousal support and maintenance? call us today

Commonly asked questions about spousal support and maintenance:

What is the time limit to apply for spousal maintenance?

You must make an application within 12 months of a divorce being finalised, or within two years of the breakdown of a de facto relationship.

Am I eligible to file for spousal maintenance?

You can file for spousal maintenance as long as you and your former partner separated after 1st March 2009.

What happens if I begin a new relationship?

If you remarry, you are generally not entitled to receive spousal maintenance.
If you enter into a new de facto relationship, the court will consider whether your ability to support yourself adequately has changed.

What are "pre-action" procedures?

Before you can file for spousal maintenance orders, you and your former partner will be required to participate in dispute resolution, such as mediation, with the aim of coming to an agreement without the need to involve the court. If you come to an agreement, you can file for consent orders to make the agreement legally binding.

If you are unable to reach an agreement, you can then apply to the court for spousal maintenance orders.